Funny how sometimes a post is so hard to write that it is necessary to step away, forget and then try it again. Sometimes, there is something more profund going on and it takes some soul searching to find out what is the matter and this particular post would be the case. I have always thought of myself as a pretty laid back parent (wait for it) when it comes to expectations. As long as my child is happy, I am also. Recently, I found out pretty early on, that this was not the case with soccer. My sweet super energetic and outgoing child, once he hit the soccer field became this shy, needy, and some times bawling kid. I literally wanted to crawl under a rock and die. This was not the behavior that I was used to and COME ON this was soccer. How could he not like it? There were so many family moments to enjoy, meeting other parents, rooting for the team, preparing the team snacks. Teammates, out doors and running, what is there not to like? Well, my son did not like it. In fact he felt overwhelmed with all the attention and kids. Looking back, I can't say I blame him, his whole existence has been with older people, family and at home in relatively quiet and serene settings. He went to playgrounds and play-dates but never at the level as soccer practice.
To my surprise, instead of all the positive images I had in my mind about how "OUR" experience would be with soccer, I found myself standing by the goal stand, holding my sons hand, wiping his face and trying very hard to be supportive. "No son, they are not trying purposely to hit you, No son everyone is not watching you, other than mommy and daddy. Try it, lets just defend and see what happens." I am half Argentine, this should count for something! My baby boy should be the star of the team, he should love this, he has it in his blood!
After two excruciating Saturdays, we really needed to think if it was worth it. Through it all, I didn't want my son to hate sports so we talked (my husband, the coach and I) and all agreed that we needed him to at least come to practice and be with his teammates, that giving up is not an option when things get hard or are unknown - that he needed to give it a try. We really did, there were Saturdays that I didn't want to go and felt embarrassed or sad. I wanted to stay home on my couch fiddling with my laptop. I reallized that not only was I having to overcome my motherly hangoups but also be a supportive mom at the same time. So there we were, holding hands right by the goalie and somehow by the end of the game we weren't holding hands anymore and he was less tense and happy to be there. There were parents that spoke to us and said that this is normal and it happen to their oldest or to their nephew. They grow out of it, it has to do with maturity, next spring will be better.
Funny how as parents, we promise ourselves that we will not make the same mistakes our parents made. We harp on the bad, make lists and mental images of practically every horrifying moment of our childhood. And then we become our worst enemy. We turn into what we promised ourselves we wouldn't, how does that make any sense? One of the things that I blame my parents for is their expectations. It was so hard to make everyone happy and it still is. I didn't want to be that mother, but here I am 3 years into it finding out that I am and for all the wrong reasons. After all three of us made a sincere effort to try this out and when it got too cold, we decided that it was time to hang in the towel. We taught him that you dont give up at first but I am hoping that we also taught him that if you are unhappy with something in your life you need to let it go and start over.
My love for soccer keeps a flicker of hope that maybe next fall...who knows.